All copyright © 2003 remains with the authors.
All copyright © 2004 remains with the authors.



Snapshots
9/24/03






Tree-House

The neighbours' back-garden is littered with planks -
the tree-house straddling their high back fence
these last few years, has been pulled down.

I watched when it first went up: boy next door,
and friend, same age, from over that back fence -
they built it together, overseen by two fathers.

It was strong all right, almost weather-proof.
The boys decided who was welcome -
girls were warned off by a sign.

During the month of inauguration
I was privileged to climb their ladder
but too tall to step inside and share.

Now they have both 'shot up overnight',
and climbing in, no doubt they sense
how small it has become, their tree-house.

I heard them pulling it down, the two tall boys -
voices deeper than I recalled - surely enjoying
this latest joint effort; but did not go to look.

6.00 am, Wednesday September 24, 2003 Max Richards Melbourne

***


photo - delay:

something like a buffalo
jumps from some
thing like a platform

all laid out
against the blue
& white shadowed curtains
of cloud
draped beyond

minute by minute changing
utterly
shifting up and
lost then
above the lowering sun

Douglas Barbour Edmonton Canada 11:30

***


SNAPSHOT 22

weather insignificant
neither summer nor winter
still lush and green
the grass along the brook
beyond fugitives' road
on the edge of town
the urgent steps
that trod it covered now
by single lane asphalt
on the still pond
that tiny reservoir
above the dam of quarried stone
remnant of the first water-works
worn wooden pipe half-submerged
(a tiny bird a wheatear alighted
before my eyes there a year ago)
while beneath my feet the water
seeps through between the stones
of the dam and the brook
crawls away gathering
momentum cold and deep
stroking the blades of grass
causing them to tremble
the mountains lining my horizon
have greyed slightly at the temples
soon to be white my own hair
is greying at the temples
back from my walk i play
bud powell's tempus fugue-it

Árni Ibsen
2:30 p.m. september 24, 2003
hafnarfjördur, iceland

***


Birthday, a Fragment

Years ago I found a picture my mother
kept of me at a birthday party, mine, and
I was one year old. It was February 1945.
The child that I know as Me is grinning,
he seems truly happy and unafraid.
I am still looking for where I lost him.

Kenneth Wolman

***


Snap

dragon shot
resisting a
rest, more at
eleven

Halvard Johnson, NYC, Sept. 24, 2003

***


no way I can win
yawning to bed
see you 'morrow

anny ballardini Bozen Italy 9pm

***


The mountains
darkened by distance
no longer make one think blue
nearer, daubs
of chalk hover &
tell you this is your country

a single
light in the village
cold on the stones of a wall
red roof tiles
dulled now still give me
colour enough for my need

Martin Walker

***


a previous thought completed:
across genessee river valley
all gum-wood and dry
ghosts cast from 1897--
a sky-door opening
on something known, risen
mostly as a noise
under or in the instants
of which I hear
a kind of music
indistinctly distant

West Irondequoit, Newer York
3:59 pm... 24 September
Jerry Schwartz

***


H*LP

h*lp
h*lp
s*m*b*dy
h*s t*k*n
*ff th* v*w*ls
fr*m h*s k*yb**rd
h*w c*n h* d*
h*s sn*psh*t?

p*tr*ck mc 9*m
r*yn*s p*rk *k

***


Love is both grand and blind, by decree
of common wisdom.
Don't you think there might
be something in it? Take a little heed

for your heart's sake, and not only that -
body and soul, dear,
body and soul are staked
out on that great wheel, in the sun's glare.

Marriage is daylight robbery: you'll lose
more than you knew you had.
To be happy and married
is to have made peace with destitution.

You want to end up like us? Get real:
it's you that will be deported.
Exile in your own house - that's
where "settling down" will get you.

Lord knows how I love my wife;
how my children vex me
daily with astonishment.
Still I must warn you: nobody *chooses* this.

Dominic Fox, Leicester 22.50pm

***


PROMENADE BALTIMORE (with Helen & Newton Harrison)

although the situation doesn't
allow for its text,
a determined concentration
activates its conceptual range.

"Was dat?"

"Planning the interstices."

But then my altered foot demanded,
"Attention!"

Barry Alpert / Silver Spring, MD USA / (7:21 PM)

***


Listers,

Just a little note. Our sisters are opening a space (638 Elizabeth Avenue) for women in the downtown of Elizabeth NJ to come and be at home (away from home) to be creative, reflective, supported/supportive. It's neither a retreat house or a social service agency. It has yet to really be defined. It is called Josephine's Place, honoring Mother Josephine O'Brien who despite her Bostonian/Irish-Catholic upbringing--helped our community move forward in the 1960s at great personal cost. Judy the person helping to get the house together asked if I would write something for the opening--and, hey! It's Wednesday. Hurray.

do you like
this having a somewhere
that fits you fine like a new
coat, the one you stare at
through the glass of your waking
walking dreams, where it is really
new, not hand-me-down new
or bargain table found

this house is like that, this place is
precisely what surrounds you
cool silken lining closest to your skin
and wool woven thick, weighted for protection
for traveling, for going places
together
we know the hidden spaces, the hiding places
holding spaces, the extra places we willingly set
the niches, the pedestals, the under-the-bridge places
the world accommodates us unsure as they are

of our loyalty or the depths
of our anger or our ability
to incorporate josephine's place
into our many lives

Deborah Humphreys
Newark, NJ
24 september 2003
words I carried with me all day
now 7:32 pm

***


Sand

The rust on the window,
the spot on the table,
but the scent, the scent.
Lilacs bursting white and blue,
the vases seemingly tilted
to hold the petals and leaves.
The sun shines through the window
and the grass the grass
still too green to compete
with the blossoming.
Is it summer still?
Will the rain come again,
even as the flowers will wilt
and the sand along the seashore
will long have lost their footprints.

Harriet Zinnes
September 24, 2003
New York City 8:30 pm

***


I set up the shot yesterday
but fell into the hole
in my mouth
yes, where the stories leak
to my throat
or fling to air breathy
busking my walk

this is the wide city
it has accumulated me
along each stage
the clarinet, the needle
and abraded bone

Jill Jones, St James Station, Sydney, 8.55am

***


Play Naked

this child in me is dying
i need to laugh and dance
with my hands flinging
in all directions
i want to be mad, crazy and wild
bark at the moon
and be sweet, coy and fresh
like young girls are
i need to be chased
through the house and up the stairs,
caught, tickled and laugh until i nearly cry
i want to fly to Jamacia tonight
play naked tomorrow, beneath the sun
i want to run through waves
with my best clothes on
write a name inside a heart in the sand
but not the one i let wash away

Deborah Russell
Baltimore, Maryland
September 24, 2003 9:32 pm

***


THE REVENGE OF ARTIFICE AGAINST ITS MAKERS

Hummingbird sits on a sharp spear
of yucca, surveys the garden
for intruders. It has
sugar, and sugar
is power.

Here in America in exchange for universal hatred we get
cheap goods made by slaves. What? you wanted
something for nothing?

And if I were a bird I would fly--

As perfect as the rock would let them,
given their skill.

The rules by which one liquid penetrates another. From which upsprings--

Do you mind? I'm fisting a chicken.

Is it bestiality if the bird is dead?

Mark Weiss

***


Delay not mini Godot,
Let us go now, you're an eye
pouring Deleuze I'm the blue excelsior
unpacking wheelbarrow girls
wantering in neologisms

O Peter
Gabriel: "Red Rain"!
"red rain red rain is coming
down" this or that blue bird bread crumb way out of here

"pouring down" the midnight your
pronoun is showing blue mascara
coming urban inside pouring
faces together
playing dos gardenias para ti
Sartes, too, putty on favored grammar OMyAnyOne

Some say it is an army of Norsemen some mini hoplite
shine for your lonesome
Today Show Hostess
Cupcake rewind O Muy Red Rain
for more Simone:
pouring my not
mother was like that: her bluest falls
pouring out of Havasu rock--
to each of their wantering tongues this,
my overlove

Chris Murray, 25 Sept. 2003, Dallas TX, 2:30 a.m.

***


"You Stepped Out of a Dream...."

Six years later, she will walk into a dream,
interrupt it as she interrupted opera broadcasts,
poem-writing, autoerotic fantasies.
No "How've you been?" or pleasantries
as courtesy dictates for life in real life,
simply that jackhammer voice pounding
through the concrete block of the husband's skull,
affirming in dreams this marriage for eternity,
beyond the last kiss and the final embrace,
even beyond the stiff courtroom nod.
The husband speaks but can't hear his own voice.
The dream is all hers, the captious voice of failures,
mockery and ice proclaiming ruination,
every plan he has come to nothing,
every dream doomed to contain her.
On the other side of dreams one day they will meet--
or so he thinks--and then perhaps will come an end
to the cold that visits in July at 3 AM,
there will be a place for forgiveness.
Or maybe not.
Better to just wake up.

Kenneth Wolman Princeton, NJ

***


Marriage

This is the poem that answers
the question "What happens when an adult male
who has been unmarried since childhood
suddenly has his wife restored?"
She just walks in the door one day
and says, "Honey, guess what, I'm home!"
He, looking up quizzically yet with good humor
over the top of his newspaper, says,
"Well, I never . . . ," but
she interrupts with a smile, saying,
"You'll never guess where I've been!"
He allows that that is true but holds
his tongue. She, extracting a hairpin, takes
her time explaining. And then, when she's
done, things go on pretty much as one
might expect. She finds everything
out of order and begins to rearrange, and he
wonders who it is she so reminds him of.

Halvard Johnson

***





Poetryetc is a listserv relating to poetry and poetics which provides a forum for poets to debate their critical and creative work. The list has over the years run a number of projects for its members, of which Snapshots has been the most enduring.

Every Wednesday, Poetryetc members were invited to post short poems on any subject or in any form they chose. The idea was to make a poetic collage of instamatic “snaps” of that day that reflected the international membership of the list. The project has generated an astounding number of poems.

The first two runs, of six weeks each, and the first ten weeks of the third run, are archived at Wild Honey Press www.wildhoneypress.com under Poetryetc Project. The rest - amounting in all to a run of a year - are archived here.

Poetryetc, like its affiliate Salt Publishing (http://www.saltpublishing.com), was founded by Australian poet John Kinsella. Salt is managed by Christopher Hamilton-Emery (cemery@saltpublishing.com), while Poetryetc is owned by Alison Croggon (ajcroggon@bigpond.com). Poetryetc is now archived at http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/poetryetc.html. and anyone interested can join from that url.

To contact the listowner: Alison Croggon


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